Utterly Meaningless » 2004 » November

    Filed on November 30, 2004 at 8:04 pm under by dcobranchi

    we could be in serious trouble.

    In a letter to the conservative Illinois Leader extolling the virtues of school choice we have this:

    [A]llow homeschoolers and day care centers to have tax exemptions and other “building blocks”. Those would include tuition tax credits and educational savings accounts. Anything to empower local control would bring in the fresh air of freedom to students struggling in dysfunctional systems.

    Thanks but no thanks. Tax exemptions lead to governmental control. That’s bad- even if it’s “local.”

    It’s funny. The left are statists, and the right are statists. The vast middle are statists. No wonder we’re such a tiny minority; we don’t fit anywhere on the spectrum.

    NO WAY!

    Filed on at 3:40 pm under by dcobranchi

    Can this stat be correct?

    About one in 10 high school students in the San Diego Unified School District attempted suicide last year, which is higher than the national average, according to a survey of 1,800 students.

    The number of reported suicide attempts among ninth-through 12th-graders was 10.9 percent, compared with 10.5 percent the previous year.

    The county ranked above the national average of 8.5 percent of students who acknowledged in a survey that they had attempted suicide.

    So, discounting multiple attempts by the same person, approximately one in three kids will attempt suicide during their high school years? That just seems way too high.

    UPDATE: Here’s the source of the 8.9 percent national figure. Based on their criteria, the actual figure should have been even higher than 8.9 percent (“successful” suicides were not counted). They do include a caveat about self-reporting bias, but I don’t know how big a role that would have played. Pretty scary stuff.


    Filed on at 1:39 pm under by dcobranchi

    I’m now completely bummed. And it’s all Joanne Jacobs’ fault. She pointed out this article. I was warned, though. And so are you.

    I just don’t understand this stuff…

    Filed on at 9:39 am under by Tim Haas

    More on daycare from a Canadian perspective:
    Two days ago, The Ottawa Citizen dedicated its entire Sunday Weekly section to the daycare initiative.
    There are multiple articles in the series, unfortunately only available to paid subscribers.
    I’ll excerpt my favorite bits, starting with columnist Shelley Page, who actually asks some very good questions:

    Are large institutions better than folksy, at-home care? Do children need to enter the mill so young? Will this be fair to parents, mostly mothers, who sacrifice a second income to be at home with their preschoolers? Why do they have to subsidize other people’s day care? Or is this a worthy sacrifice for the long-term good of the country?
    As the national plan pushes ahead, there are more questions. Will it be good quality? Who will care for our children when there’s a shortage of child-care workers? Would a national plan force more mothers to work because they feel obligated to use the system, for fear their children might fall behind?

    Who’s watching the kids? In Canada, the answer depends on income, access and luck
    Unfortunately, Shelley’s excellent questions are answered with the following series of articles:
    See mom, See mom work: A mother who dared leave home in the 60’s suggests we’ve come a long way (baby), but there’s still far to go

    In 1967, I felt guilty all the time: for leaving my son in less than perfect care; for all the times he cried and banged his head on the floor when I left; for missing the special “firsts” he instead shared with the sitter. And I was made to feel even guiltier when someone, usually a grey man in an expensive suit, said Canada couldn’t afford a day-care program because of other priorities like helicopters and tax cuts.

    I’m not sure how a universal day-care program is supposed to solve ANY of this. Care will still be less-than-perfect, children will still cry when you leave them (at least, you hope they will!), and you will still miss all of those “firsts”. Sometimes leaving your child in care is an unavoidable economic necessity. But don’t expect a universal day-care program to make it hurt any less.

    Flash forward 37 years: Despite all predictions, Glen turned out well. He and my daughter-in-law are great parents to their two-year-old and five-year-old daughters. And my life worked out – I’ve had a career I loved, doing work that mattered.

    Because I guess the work all those other women did in looking after your son just didn’t matter at all, right? Some people (men and women, both) have passions that take precedence over family. I have no problem with that, but I dislike the clear implication that the work other people do is somehow less worthy of admiration.

    Most educators recognize day care is about expanding young minds, not babysitting. And moms aren’t made to feel guilty because they want more to life than diapers and dishpans.

    No wonder we pay our childcare workers so little. If our daycare workers and sitters had any personal initiative they’d want more from life, too.

    I’m out of time at the moment, but I’ll share more of the joy later. 😉

    Courses like BH0-001 can be pretty hard if one does not have the basic knowledge of RH302 and 000-869 to his credit.


    Filed on at 6:17 am under by dcobranchi

    As promised, here’s Karen De Coster’s extended rant. In all honesty, I think De Coster missed the point of the column. I just re-read it and I still don’t think it’s anti-homeschooling. It seems to me that it’s just a very weak attempt at humor.


    Filed on at 6:07 am under by dcobranchi

    The ABJ has summarized the responses they got to the homeschooling series. They quote Chris extensively. H&OES gets a couple of mentions, too.


    Filed on November 29, 2004 at 6:33 pm under by dcobranchi

    How did a Detroit-area TV station come to channel NHEN?

    What Parents Need to Know

    Parents may be attracted to home schooling due to a desire to provide a safe, secure learning environment. Statistics show an increase in home schooling takes place after acts of school violence. Other parents see home schooling as an opportunity to provide as much religious education as they desire.

    In addition, proponents say home schooling:

    # Provides an opportunity for more emphasis on life skills education.
    # Limits exposure to negative social experiences.
    # Provides an opportunity to strengthen parent-child bonds.
    # Provides more one-on-one teaching and learning.
    # Allows curriculum and teaching methods to be tailored to meet the individual needs of each student.
    # Allows flexibility in what is taught.

    If you are considering home schooling your children, psychologist Dr. Rex Forehand of the Institute for Behavioral Research at the University of Georgia, has the following advice:

    # Consider your motives. As you do this, remember that an education is more than what you learn academically. Being part of a group, learning to work as a member of a class and developing peer relationships are also important.
    # Talk to others who have home schooled their children. Learn the pluses and minuses of this approach to education.
    # Think long term. Do you see this as a temporary solution or a long term one? Are you trying to prepare your child for college? Will home schooling increase or decrease her chances of enrollment in the college of her choice?
    # Consider other alternatives: It is not necessarily a choice between home schooling and public education. There are various types of private schools available.

    Plan thoughtfully before you act, including what is best for your child.

    The article that accompanies this list is pretty positive, too. Worth a read.

    Universal Daycare Marches On

    Filed on at 4:34 pm under by Tim Haas

    In Canadian news today:
    Ontario reveals plan to broaden child care options for kindergarten kids

    Bountrogianni said she wants as many as 50,000 new child care spots for kindergarten children by the end of the Liberal mandate in 2007. Fifteen years down the road, the government envisions a full day of learning for children as young as two and a half years old.

    Aside from the obvious problems of “How do they expect to pay for all this?” and “Is it really good for 2yos to be in ‘school’ all day long?” the recent push for universal daycare has led to some very distressing articles in local papers. Apparently it’s not possible to support subsidized daycare without making stay-at-home motherhood sound like a fate worse than death for both the poor unfufilled mother and her educationally-neglected offspring.
    My prediction? In the next decade we’re going to see many more parents of toddlers telling folks that they are “homeschooling” just because they’ve chosen to stay home with their babies.


    Filed on at 2:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    Darby has joined the stellar lineup of guest posters here at H&OES. I’ve added her contact info over there ——>.


    Filed on at 1:38 pm under by dcobranchi

    I don’t think this LttE will ever be topped. Jim Peacock includes it in an update to an earlier post. Click over and read this wonderfully snarky anti-g-school missive.


    Filed on at 1:09 pm under by dcobranchi

    In an article about Alabama’s segregationist past (and present):

    Killings also frets about Alabama schools steadfastly re-segregating. This phenomenon, which is getting increased attention among national education experts, is attributed to factors including the suburban migration of white families, private school expansion and the rising popularity of home schooling among white conservatives.

    I find it hard to believe that the tiny minority of homeschoolers makes a significant contribution to re-segregation. We would have to be many times larger than we are now (and essentially all white) to even begin to be as causative as white flight.

    Stupid Security

    Filed on at 12:47 pm under by Tim Haas

    This site amply illustrates that we can’t blame ALL of our security woes on the current political climate. Contributors have sent in examples of stupid security from around the world, dating back several decades.

    On the other hand, Homeland Security has certainly been providing lots of additional fodder for ridicule:

    Chief Heintz writes “One day when many troops were debarking from Norfolk, Virginia I witnessed this joke: Many soldiers were carrying their personal weapons, rifles, machine guns, pistols and the like. One very stupid screener confiscated a soldiers house key because it had a battery operated light in it. While he was searching the soldier he held the weapon for him, and when the search was done, handed the weapon back to the soldier, minus the lighted house key!”

    Stupid Security: Exposing Fake Security Since 2003


    Filed on at 11:33 am under by dcobranchi

    I got one of theose spam mortgage emails that really makes no sense. Evidently, I’ve been approved for a $380,000 mortgage with payments as low as $252 per month. At zero percent interest, my great-great-great-great-grandkids will have it paid off in 2130.


    Filed on at 7:07 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a great example of why home educators ought not to get themselves involved in the g-school morass under any guise:

    An Oregon Department of Education plan to crack down on school districts that receive money for teaching home-schoolers could require hundreds of Central Oregon students to take yet another standardized test.

    The policy change will require home-schooled students to take the Oregon Statewide Assessment test if they receive tutoring or take special classes in reading/literature, math or science that are paid for by public schools. Oregon home-schoolers already must take a national standardized test in third, fifth, eighth and 10th grades.

    The rule requiring home-schooled students to take the state assessment has been around since the early 1990s, said Oregon Department of Education (OED) Specialist Cliff Brush, but the No Child Left Behind Act has put added pressure on the state to test all students who benefit from public-education funding.

    NCLB exempts homeschoolers from having to take the state assessments, but if a homeschooler partially enrolls in the g-schools all bets are off. If OR is successful in pulling this off, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the program expanded to include homeschoolers who participate in any g-school activity. Like sports.


    Filed on at 6:56 am under by dcobranchi

    The NYT has two very good Op/Eds on the problems students and others are facing getting visas to the US. Both are worth a read.



    Filed on at 6:24 am under by dcobranchi

    I’m not sure, but I think Karen DeCoster was a tad unhappy with the lip gloss column.

    Berman is what I call an Education Nazi, or one who would do anything so that parents could not have control over their kids’ education, as they see fit. And they’ll rationalize the need for public education any way they can.

    Newsflash Mrs. Berman: not everyone who homeschools their child is a fundamentalist nutbag that wants to shield their kid from lip gloss, short skirts, and bad words. If you don’t have enough love and guts to do this, then shut up and get back to your PTA meetings.

    Hat tip: Skip Oliva


    Filed on at 12:17 am under by dcobranchi

    There’s only one kid at the kitchen table in this gee-whizzy article — the other one’s with Mom on the couch. Close enough?


    Filed on November 28, 2004 at 7:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    You Are a “Don’t Tread On Me” Libertarian

    You distrust the government, are fiercely independent, and don’t belong in either party.

    Religion and politics should never mix, in your opinion… and you feel opressed by both.

    You don’t want the government to cramp your self made style. Or anyone else’s for that matter.

    You’re proud to say that you’re pro-choice on absolutely everything!

    What political persuasion are you?

    (via Darby)


    Filed on at 2:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    A sort-of political post. Proceed at your own risk.

    ABCNews has an article up about “morals voters” looking for GW to deliver for them. I found this quote to be among the dumbest statements I’ve seen in quite a while:

    “Values” voters delivered for the president, and the president must now deliver for them — especially in the courts, said Gary Cass, head of a grassroots political organization affiliated with Coral Ridge, called the Center for Reclaiming America.

    “It’s about the next 40 years and how the courts are going to affect the world in which my children and grandchildren are going to be raised in,” he said.

    Cass wants a U.S. Supreme Court that will outlaw abortion and gay marriage. “Do you want to take your children to a National League baseball game for instance and have homosexuals showing affection to one another? I don’t want my kids to see that,” he said.

    I guess he wants to outlaw PDAs. Hmmm– that might not be such a bad idea. I seem to remember a pretty graphic heterosexual PDA at a Mets game a number of years ago. It really is a National League problem.


    Filed on at 8:24 am under by dcobranchi

    From the N-J:

    T-shirt incident defies common sense test

    The student T-shirt controversy is a good example of liberalism being always one step ahead of common sense. A school’s responsibility is to the safety of the students first, everything else second.

    This free speech issue is similar to shouting “fire” in a crowded theater – in this case preventing student fights in the hallways. The T-shirt was plainly inciting – my kid said he would have decked that kid on the spot without thinking twice. This is what the school is expected to prevent, and I mean prevent and not merely respond to after the fact.

    I don’t let my kid go to school with his “liberals are idiots” T-shirt for just that reason. It’s too bad the school administrators reviewing their policies and liberal parents continue to demonstrate that they’ve lost their marbles, if they ever had any.

    Wayne Biro, Bear

    It appears that liberals aren’t the only idiots in Delaware.


    Filed on at 8:00 am under by dcobranchi

    I really should read my own website more often. Tim beat me by 21 minutes


    Filed on at 7:20 am under by dcobranchi

    I think this columnist was trying to be cute. She failed.

    I never thought the day would arrive when I would understand the impulse to home school.

    The idea of removing children from the real world and educating them in the cloister of your basement rec room — in essence to deprive your children of any knowledge but that which you spoon-feed them — has always struck me as problematic, if not wrongheaded.

    Until last Tuesday.

    That was when my daughter asked a question I’d presumed to be still years away.

    “Mommy, can I have lip gloss?”


    Filed on at 7:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a nice profile of an MD who does nothing but house calls. Homeschoolers are among his best customers. Makes sense. Who wants to haul 5 or 6 well children into the doctor’s office for the one who’s sick?


    Filed on at 7:08 am under by dcobranchi

    Furman’s archrivals Georgia Southern got knocked out of the playoffs yesterday. At home. On national TV. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of folks.

    And in case you’re wondering… I find GSU Eagles fans every bit as obnoxious as their NFL counterparts.

    Here’s the updated bracketing. We’ll get to see how good JMU really is next week.

    UPDATE: I PROTEST!!! ESPN picked the New Hampshire-Montana game to show next Saturday. So, NH ends up on national TV 2 weeks in a row and Furman, the highest rated team left playing, gets shafted. Boo! Hiss!!! Is the producer at ESPN a NH grad?


    Filed on at 6:59 am under by dcobranchi

    It takes real talent to expose one’s ignorance and parental shortcomings so vividly in so few words:

    I never thought the day would arrive when I would understand the impulse to home school.

    The idea of removing children from the real world and educating them in the cloister of your basement rec room — in essence to deprive your children of any knowledge but that which you spoon-feed them — has always struck me as problematic, if not wrongheaded.

    Until last Tuesday.

    That was when my daughter asked a question I’d presumed to be still years away.

    “Mommy, can I have lip gloss?”

    She’s not yet 4. We were eating breakfast.

    “No, you may not have lip gloss,” I responded.

    Then, I wondered: How does she know about lip gloss? Who is giving her lip gloss?

    And so I conceived the first component of my personal home-school curriculum: It would provide a 100 percent lip gloss-free environment for children under 6. In fact, the entire industry of cosmetics for 4-year-olds would not be allowed in my home school.

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m no fan of lip gloss for any age group. But if you think putting your hands over your child’s eyes counts as helping her navigate the shoals of consumer culture …


    Filed on November 27, 2004 at 1:59 pm under by dcobranchi

    Furman 21, Jacksonville State 7

    JaxSt went three and out to start the 2nd half.

    UPDATE: 28 to 7 with 0:35 left in the 3rd.

    UPDATE: 35 to 7 with 10:00 left in the 4th. Furman will play the winner of the James Madison-Lehigh game next week in Greenville, SC.

    UPDATE: 42 to 7 Furman has pulled its starters.

    UPDATE: 49 to 7 with 3:00 left. I think this one is done.

    FINAL UPDATE: Final score Furman 49, Jacksonville State 7. Woohoo!!!


    Filed on at 1:55 pm under by dcobranchi

    This one is just a bit infuriating.

    A mother said a Lowell, Ind., school has threatened to expel her 6th-grade son if he misses any more days, even if he is absent for religious reasons.

    Ruth Scheidt said Lowell Middle School officials had her 12-year-old son sign a letter last month stating he understood that he could be expelled if he missed another day of school for any reason before the end of the semester in January.

    The family had just returned from an out-of-state, eight-day religious observance called the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrated by the United Church of God.

    So the school is “worried” that he’s missing too many days and the solution is to threaten expulsion? And who gets to decide that families are entitled to one and only one excused absence for religious observances?


    Filed on at 8:53 am under by dcobranchi

    What is a “Bible-believing Christian”?

    Dr. [Brian] Ray notes that home schoolers consistently score 15 to 30 percentile points above the national average on academic achievement tests. Also, he says, they generally score better than their public school peers in the area of socialization. “development,” he notes.

    And the president of the NHERI says myths about the lack of academic and social skills of home schoolers are not the only inaccurate and unfair stereotypes being connected with the movement.

    Ray and his wife have successfully home schooled eight children, and he has also authored a book on the practice, his Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling (Broadman and Holman, 2004). The author says research shows that the demographic stereotype of home schooling as simply involving white, middle class Christian families is not completely accurate.

    “It has not always been that — in fact, some of the first people promoting something we now call home schooling were not Christians,” the home education expert says. Today, he notes, the movement in America is made up of “probably about 75 percent people who would call themselves Bible-believing Christians.”

    As for the other 25 percent, Ray says they can be described as “everything,” including “move to the country, blow up the TV, goat-farming, atheists.” In fact, he says, most of that surprising string of characteristics — except for the “atheists” part — describes his own family. Also, he notes, home education is expanding at a particularly pace among the African American and Hispanic American communities in the U.S.

    According to Ray, all those who argue that home schoolers are not ready for the “real world” need to realize that home education is the real world. And within it, he says, home school students thrive and achieve as they interact with people of all ages and backgrounds in their community.

    If “Bible-believing Christians” mean fundamentalist, I’d bet Ray’s stats are out of date (if they were ever true). (via Izzy)


    Filed on at 7:32 am under by dcobranchi

    See if you can find the missing piece of this Hindustan Times article.

    A potential gas source found on the moon’s surface could hold the key to meeting future energy demands as the earth’s fossil fuels dry up in the coming decades, scientists said on Friday.

    Mineral samples from the moon contained abundant quantities of Helium 3, a variant of the gas used in lasers and refrigerators as well as to blow up balloons.

    “When compared to the earth, the moon has a tremendous amount of Helium 3,” said Lawrence Taylor, a director of the US Planetary Geosciences Institute, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. “When Helium 3 combines with deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen), the fusion proceeds at a very high temperature and it can produce awesome amounts of energy,” Taylor said.

    “Just 25 tonnes of helium, which can be transported on a space shuttle, is enough to provide electricity for the US for one year,” said Taylor, who is in Udaipur to attend a global conference on moon exploration.

    Helium 3 is deposited on the lunar surface by solar winds and would have to be extracted from moon soil and rocks. Some 200 million tonnes of lunar soil would produce one tonne of helium, only 10 kilos of helium are available on earth.


    Filed on November 26, 2004 at 6:50 pm under by dcobranchi

    The bird (or at least the holiday surrounding it) can be deadly.

    A man was charged with stabbing two relatives after they allegedly criticized his table manners during Thanksgiving dinner.

    Police said the fight broke out Thursday when Gonzalo Ocasio, 49, and his 18-year-old son, Gonzalo Jr., reprimanded Frank Palacious for picking at the turkey with his fingers, instead of slicing off pieces with a knife.

    Palacious, 24, described by police only as an uncle, allegedly responded by stabbing them with a carving knife.

    NEW AD —–>

    Filed on at 9:30 am under by dcobranchi

    Now, this one I’m familiar with. If you don’t regularly read HEM, here’s a free sample. The dead-tree version has more stuff.


    Filed on at 8:07 am under by dcobranchi

    The headline of this NYT profile of a homeschool grad tries too hard to be cute. The article, though, is worth a read.


    Filed on at 8:01 am under by dcobranchi

    A student swinging two sharp-edged blades — including one described as a machete— is accused of injuring seven high school classmates in their Spanish class before staff could subdue him Wednesday in Valparaiso, police said.

    But remember, according to the ABJ, schools are the safest place for kids.


    Filed on at 7:56 am under by dcobranchi

    Deb sends the backstory to the Macon, GA teacher who attacked a parent late last month. I’m not a psychologist (though my wife is), but this (former) teacher definitely needs some serious couch time.

    The last e-mail released came Oct. 21, just an hour and a half before police were called.

    In it, Rucker – who often in e-mails referred to herself in the third person – wrote Konke that she spent many hours the previous night at the hospital.

    “Miss Rucker has to leveave (sic) early yesterday due to illness..No one at the Bruce-Weir or board would help with physical suffereing (sic) that occured (sic) on job…So she spent almost the entire day and night in the Emergency Room. The doctor has ordered me to best (sic) rest for the two days…I came in this morning to leave extended material for sub.”

    I think everyone is better off with her not in charge of a bunch of kids.


    Filed on at 6:19 am under by dcobranchi

    The NYT reports on new passports that raise all sorts of privacy concerns. And in a complete non sequitur, I happened to run across this posting that seems to indicate that RFIDs placed in microwave ovens will explode or be deactivated. I bet accidentally dropping a brick on one of these chips would “work” equally well.


    Filed on at 5:59 am under by dcobranchi

    Well said:

    Court has ruled that students are entitled

    Regarding Appoquinimink School District’s response to the student wearing a T-shirt, read the 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines Supreme Court decision. Three public school pupils in Iowa were suspended from school for wearing black armbands to protest the government’s policy in Vietnam.

    The court said: In wearing armbands, the petitioners were quiet and passive. They were not disruptive and did not impinge upon the rights of others. In these circumstances, their conduct was within the protection of the free speech clause of the First Amendment and the due process Clause of the Fourteenth.

    First Amendment rights are available to teachers and students, subject to application in light of the special characteristics of the school environment.

    A prohibition against expression of opinion, without any evidence that the rule is necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others, is not permissible under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

    Jack Davidson, Newark

    Holy cow! A well-reasoned LttE of the N-J. What is the world coming to?


    Filed on November 25, 2004 at 11:59 am under by dcobranchi

    See y’all tomorrow.


    Filed on at 7:32 am under by dcobranchi

    The mandatory mental health screening is (un)officially dead. Conservative columnist Phyllis Schlafly is blaming the whole thing on “liberals.” Really. George Bush and Big Pharma created this boondoggle. If the right wing is distancing itself, you can pretty much write its obit.


    Filed on at 6:19 am under by dcobranchi

    A response to the article Tim found the other day. The guy’s heart is in the right place, but the article is pretty weak.


    Filed on at 6:05 am under by dcobranchi

    This Reuters story (headlined on *shudder* Drudge) has folks over at the Motley Fool homeschooling board all riled up:

    A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God — including the Declaration of Independence.

    Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

    “It’s a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful,” said Williams’ attorney, Terry Thompson.

    Yeah– based on only the lede is sure sounds like PC run amok. But it doesn’t hang together. We only get the teacher’s viewpoint from Reuters, but it “feels” like the teacher may have been accused of using his classroom “pulpit” to proselytize.

    UPDATE: Others have been thinking along the same lines.

    FINAL UPDATE: The Smoking Gun has a copy of the lawsuit. It sure sounds like the teacher was “pushing” Christianity on the kids.


    Filed on November 24, 2004 at 8:52 pm under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a short profile of a 13-year-old homeschooler who wrote, directed, and produced a movie that will be shown on local cable access.

    WARNING: The article is the most poorly edited I have ever read. I might print out a copy and give it to the kids to proofread.


    Filed on at 2:15 pm under by dcobranchi

    to the ABJ series. It’s really quite good. Worth a read.


    Filed on at 7:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Over 500 spam comment attempts in 24 hours. Thank God for MTBlacklist.

    OT: HUH?

    Filed on at 5:12 am under by dcobranchi

    Sometimes I just don’t understand the law. Here’s an account of a robbery in Central Jersey:

    O’Neal was robbed at gunpoint outside his home Sunday night, according to police reports. He had just walked his two daughters to the house and returned to his car when he was confronted by the four suspects.

    One of them demanded his wallet, and O’Neal handed it over, according to police. Inside were his credit cards and $1,500 in cash.

    When the four left, O’Neal jumped into his silver Dodge Durango and chased after them along Route 29.

    One of the suspects fired several shots at O’Neal from the back of a station wagon. O’Neal smashed into the suspect’s car, and the gunman jumped out and fired two more shots at O’Neal, according to the police report.

    During that chase O’Neal ran over the gunman, police said. The dead man was identified by police as 20-year-old Trenton resident Jose Alvarez, an escapee from a Middlesex County corrections facility.

    OK- they robbed him. He chased them. And one of them ended up dead. But there’s this:

    Police have arrested Kyle Gibson, 19, of Hamilton, and a 15-year-old whose name has not been released. Charges are being considered, Medina said Tuesday.

    He told the newspaper that the suspected robbers could face felony homicide charges because the dead man was slain during the course of a crime.

    The robber got run over by the “robbee” and now the other robbers are facing murder charges? What if a cop had shot one of them? Same story? Can someone please explain to me how this makes any sense?


    Filed on at 4:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Is the Alliance for the Separation of School and State being taken over by right-wing Christians?

    Opponents of public schools are meeting in the nation’s capital to advocate what they call the “extinction of government schools.” Those in attendance heard a Christian journalist and radio talk-show host tell them that home-schooling families are the vanguard of the new social revolution.

    …WorldNetDaily founder and editor Joseph Farah delivered the keynote address at the tenth annual Conference of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. Farah urged those in attendance to “just say no” to government-run schools. Saying no, he says, is pulling one’s children out of what he calls “brainwashing centers.”

    …”Basically what it means is letting the atheists have the government schools, letting the homosexual activists have them, letting the socialists have them. Let them fight out the curriculum issues among their multicultural, tolerant friends,” he suggests. “Jews and Christians should get out. What will they have when we leave? Not much.”

    And what are we homosexual-supporting, multicultural, tolerant home educators supposed to do? Put our kids back in the g-schools? But, I’m Christian so we should stay out. I’m so confused!


    Filed on at 4:05 am under by dcobranchi

    No– I’m not coming out. That was the tee-shirt inscription that got a kid sent home from school.

    A week later, Mr. Mathewson was again admonished for wearing a gay pride T-shirt, this one featuring a rainbow and the inscription “I’m gay and I’m proud.” Told once more to turn the shirt instead out or leave, he chose to go home and was eventually ordered not to return to school wearing clothing supporting gay rights.

    Other kids in the school were allegedly permitted to wear anti-gay tee shirts. The ACLU has sued the school district. Yay!!!!

    You know– this happens all too frequently and I really don’t understand it. The way Rob Reich tells it, schools are supposed to be these great laboratories for teaching “citizenship.” Isn’t understanding our rights under the Constitution a major part of learning to be a good citizen? So, how come the schools do so much to illegally suppress students’ First Amendment rights?

    I bet my (homeschooled) 13-year-old could explain (without prompting) why the schools cannot tell this kid to take off his tee-shirt.


    Filed on at 3:54 am under by dcobranchi

    The British gov’t is proposing issuing national ID cards. Included will be biometric data such as fingerprints. Of course, the cards are needed to in the WoT. Anyone want to guess how long before this idea is floated here?

    UPDATE: The link is fixed. I blame fat fingers.


    Filed on November 23, 2004 at 6:34 pm under by dcobranchi

    … you’re dangling there:

    The New Mexico Activities Association will ask member schools to decide whether charter school or home-schooled students can participate in NMAA athletics.

    Several groups throughout the state have asked the governing board for high school athletics and activities to allow home-schooled and charter school students to be allowed to participate.

    The NMAA’s board of directors met Monday to discuss the idea. The board decided to send a referendum to member schools. The results will be compiled by the end of the year.

    Several board members say they’re concerned about letting outside students join activities at schools they don’t attend because of problems with disciplinary, financial and eligibility standards.

    Sounds as if this initiative has already gone further than a similar one — headed up by a group of parents and a few high school principals in North Jersey a few years back — that didn’t even make it past an NJSIAA subcomittee.

    I will note simply that the few states that allow homeschoolers to participate in g-school sports are highly regulated and let you draw your own conclusions about the advisability of these access efforts.

    (Note: The text above is the whole short item; here’s the link if anyone needs it.)


    Filed on at 12:47 pm under by Tim Haas

    Wow, a flashback to 1985:

    Home schooling a small child stunts his emotional and psychological growth. It’s at school that a child learns how to communicate with his peers, respect those different from himself and to work as a team to accomplish goals. No, matter how loving and nurturing a home, it can’t replace a school as a crucible for social development.

    A dog that’s been confined to a kennel for years will not make a good pet and a child who’s been confined to his home during his formative years will find it extremely difficult to adjust to the real world. We don’t need any more Jerry Dalhmers and Paul Hills let loose on our society.

    After the Akron onslaught, I can’t even work up a sigh over this one.


    Filed on at 11:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Get your facts straight, moron!

    An Opinion column in the Carlisle (PA) Sentinel rags on Rick Santorum’s decision (under political duress) to pull his kids out of a cyber charter and homeschool them:

    Last week, the senator announced he would homeschool his kids from now on in an attempt to defuse the controversy.

    Hello? A cyber-charter school is homeschooling. The kids stay home to go to school in either case. The advantage to the cyber-charter school is that the parents don’t have to file lesson plans and proof of progress reports with the local school district, as Pennsylvania law requires for homeschooling.

    I know we have some PA readers here. Can someone please set this guy straight before he hurts himself?

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